From the market to the stage: Elha Nympha's life-changing 'Voice Kids' victory

"'Yan po yung pangarap ng papa niya bago siya mamatay," a tearful Lucy said, explaining why she and Elha were so emotional. "Na makita siya sa TV." (That was her papa's dream for her before he died, that he'd see her on TV.)

Photo by Manman Dejeto/Rappler.


But the sad story isn't why she won. There were rocky moments in the competition, but her performances got better and better each week.

After her Blinds, Elha's strong voice stood out among other Kamp Kawayan team members Paul Abellana and Kate Campo in the Battle Rounds, and Bamboo praised her for her vocal control. "You sing beyond your age," said coach Bamboo to Elha after the trio's performance of "Your Love" by Alamid.

After that, Elha powered through the sing-offs, singing "Natutulog ba ang Diyos" by the iconic Gary Valenciano. Coach Bamboo's praise of her storytelling abilities rang true – Elha built the song up and finished powerfully, driving coach Lea to tell her, "Yung paglagay ng puso sa likod ng boses, mahirap yun. Di natuturuan." (Expressing the heart behind a voice, that's difficult. That can't be taught.)


Sometime before the semi-finals, coach Bamboo visited the homes of his finalists in the Top 6, Elha and Sassa Dagdag. He spent an afternoon with Elha and her mom, and even tried out selling banana cue, too.

Hello Elha Hello camera dude :-) — Bamboo (@BambooMuzakLive) August 17, 2015


Me , Elha and her mom — Bamboo (@BambooMuzakLive) August 17, 2015


Let's meet the neighbors Elha takes me for a walk — Bamboo (@BambooMuzakLive) August 17, 2015


At a press conference for the show, he said that his experience at both Sassa and Elha's homes was a lot of fun. "Any time we get to spend time together away from the studio away, from the stage, I get to see the kids for what they are and what they do," he said.

Up high — Bamboo (@BambooMuzakLive) August 17, 2015


Goodbye everybody Mom, Elha and Moi There were more pics but I wasn't allowed to post it ..yet :-) — Bamboo (@BambooMuzakLive) August 17, 2015

The closer relationship with her coach seemed to help Elha improve even more. While her first few performances were good, Elha truly shined in the semi-finals. She showed off her full vocal range with Carousel's "You'll Never Walk Alone" hitting all the right notes from start to finish, without losing control. Her performance rendered Lea speechless, and Bamboo called her performance "the moment that will change your life."

Still, not everyone was convinced Elha would win at this point. After the semi-finals, it was revealed that among the Top 4, Elha came in 3rd in the Semi-final votes after Team Lea's Reynan Dal-Anay and Esang de Torres. Bamboo said this much after the finals: "'Cos people did not expect her, no one saw her coming, right?"

What no one saw coming was Elha's performance of Mariah Carey's "Emotions" at the finals.

Photo by Manman Dejeto/Rappler.


Her first act during Finals, a duet with Jed Madela of Regine Velasquez's "Narito," was beautiful. Elha dedicated the song to her father, and Bamboo praised her for performing from her heart. Elha held her own with Jed, with host Luis Manzano calling their performance "unbelievable."



But it was the full package of her "Emotions" performance, with yes, those whistle notes, that got everyone's attention.


Whether or not they were a fan of Elha, the crowd woke up and roared for the little girl who used to sell banana cue at the market to make ends meet.


Elha's two performances during the finals on August 29 had coach Bamboo teary-eyed. "I tried to hold back the tears," Bamboo said. "I knew the moment she nailed that, I knew wala nang masasabi (nothing could be said), nobody can say anything."

He added that as the only coach who turned for her in Blinds, he knew Elha was special: "At some point I knew I had somebody very special. It's mindblowing what she can do."

As for Elha, her The Voice journey is a step towards helping her family. "Iipunin ko muna [yung premyo ko] po para sa susunod po may pangkuha kami ng mga kailangan na gamot," she said after the winning announcement. (I'll save up [my prize] for now, so that in the future we have something to use for buying medicine we might need.)

Photo by Manman Dejeto/Rappler.


She also hopes to open her own restaurant in the future: "Mag-iipon pa po ako. Gusto ko po kasi magtayo ng restaurant." (I'm going to save up because I want to put up a restaurant.)

The future is looking bright for Elha, whose entire life will change because of her win, according to coach Bamboo: "She lives that every single day and she has to [sell banana cue] to help her family, her brothers and sisters, so I have a lot of respect for that. But now her life will change... She deserves it." –

More The Voice Kids PH 2 below:



Vernise Tantuco

Vernise Tantuco is on Rappler's Research Team, fact checking suspicious claims, wrangling data, and telling stories that need to be heard.